Sunday, June 20, 2010

Haindava Keralam - Champakulam Boat Race & its tradition

    • Many of the boat races have curious legends and myths attached to their origin. The Champakulam Boat Race also has a century-old tradition and is believed to have started in 1545 A.D. According to legends, H.H. Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan, the Raja of Chempakasseri, a principality of Travancore kingdom built a temple at Ambalapuzha as per the suggestions of the royal astrologers. But just before the installation of the deity, he was informed that the idol was inauspicious. Therefore, it was necessary to install a suitable idol immediately. Accordingly, the priests identified another idol of Lord Krishna, at the Karikulam temple in Kurichi, a neighboring village. This idol was believed to have been given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna himself, and hence considered sacred.

      After getting the idol from the temple, the Raja's entourage set forth for the return journey to Ambalapuzha by boat. While returning night set in, and as instructed by the Raja, they took shelter in a Christian household of Mappilassery Itty Thommen, a confidant of the Raja in the Champakulam village. He and his family received the men and the idol with honour. The following day, the Raja and his entourage turned up at the Mappilassery household, accompanied by a large crowd. Pujas were offered to the deity. Itty Thommen and his men also travelled to Ambalapuzha where the idol was consecrated and installed. On the way, the priests and the laity of the Champakulam Kalloorkadu Church, received the Raja and the idol. The Raja was pleased with the hospitality shown by his Christian subjects and declared that a great water carnival would be held annually at Champakulam to commemorate the events. Thus the Champakulam Boat Race and related functions started which are continuing till today.


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